Read The Awakening: And Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin Online


Welcome to the world of Mogul Classics Books. In this classic edition of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, we are proud to offer you the best paperback edition of this classic novel by one of the most loved and timeless authors of all times. The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, was first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at theWelcome to the world of Mogul Classics Books. In this classic edition of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, we are proud to offer you the best paperback edition of this classic novel by one of the most loved and timeless authors of all times. The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, was first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women's issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism. The novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams. As you read this Mogul Classics Books edition of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, you will relive one of the most acclaimed novels of the early 20th century....

Title : The Awakening: And Selected Short Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781502527011
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 140 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Awakening: And Selected Short Stories Reviews

  • Mary
    2019-02-27 13:34

    I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for tragic love and a gloomy ending. For social and moral constraints pushing down until one suffocates. I’ve lived it. I caught my breath and clutched this book and had a completely personal reaction to the beauty and the agony. Some of the one star reviews puzzle me, not because people disliked the book, which would be perfectly reasonable, but because some people suggest Edna could’ve just gotten a divorce and solved her problem that way. That she was a selfish “trollop” to have an affair and leave her kids. This simplistic and unrealistic response to a book written in 1899 floors me. To rate a book low because a female abandoned her children is laughable…especially when you consider that had the protagonist been male and abandoned his kids in the same way this outrage would not exist. I guess this is what Chopin was getting at. 113 years ago.

  • Christy B
    2019-03-02 11:28

    I loved this story for the beautiful writing and the intricate way of exploring the life of a tragic woman. I saw this as a tragic story, not as the example that feminists having been using it as for decades.The feminist themes are there, no doubt, but I don't think that Chopin intended it to be used as an example of what a woman in a similar situation should do.The Awakening is a story of a woman who feels bound and oppressed by her marriage and by motherhood. This stuff was never for her and she tries to escape them. I don't agree with her ways of escaping them, especially what she did to her children! Is that what feminists want to use as an example? I don't want to give too much away for someone who hasn't read this, but her actions in this book are too extreme. Seeing this simply as a tragic story of a selfish, oppressed woman, it is wonderful. At times I felt for this character and at times I was frustrated with her. The writing was, as I said, beautiful. Chopin really had a knack for conveying emotions without much dialogue.

  • kaelan
    2019-03-04 07:50

    With several hours to kill before an appointment, I decided to pop inside a bookstore to pick up something "short but old." In pursuit of this end, I solicited the aid of the shop lady—one of those former English majors who've evidently forgotten everything they might have once learned in university. Following several false starts ("Sorry, ma'am, but I've already read both Animal Farm and The Metamorphosis"), she pulled a slender book from the shelf, saying as she did so: "I can't remember if I read this in school, but I think people view it as important for feminism or something." Trying my best to ignore the garish cover design, which suggested some sort of third-rate historical romance novel, I consented to buy it.Before this incident, I had not heard of either The Awakening or Kate Chopin; and as I read through some of the short stories and vignettes that pad out this volume, I began to fear that her recent revaluation by critics had been more the result of patriarchal-related guilt than literary merit. Granted, tales like "Beyond the Bayou" and "Désirée's Baby" display a subtle knack for characterization and an admirable economy of prose. But as exquisitely crafted as they might be, these pieces nonetheless struck me as mere sketches, as études rather than sonatas.The Awakening, however, boasts all of the strengths of Chopin's shorter fiction, but without the flaws. First published in 1899 and originally (and more forcefully) titled A Solitary Soul, the novel follows the travails of a certain Edna Pontellier, a young New Orleans woman who grows disillusioned with her hollow yet perfect-on-paper existence. Married to a wealthy Louisiana businessman, Edna already feels alienated from the tight-knit, rambunctious and casually sensual Creole community in which she lives. Yet her feelings of isolation and discontent become amplified when she garners the attention of a young Creole man named Robert Lebrun, an attraction which, to Edna's simultaneous joy and despair, turns out to be mutual.Critic Marilynne Robinson, in her largely astute introduction, explains how many readers have taken the book to be a wholesale endorsement of the liberation of femininity from its patriarchal prison. But such an interpretation obscures the full extent of Chopin's genius. For The Awakening doesn't simply pit one half of a dichotomy against the another; rather, the novel teases out tensions and contradictions inherent to the notions of femininity, family and love. What is a woman's obligation to her children? What is the relation between love and duty? Like any other great novelist, Chopin shows herself to be far more interested in asking questions than in generating any definite answers.Sadly, The Awakening represents both Chopin's first and final excursion into the art of novel writing: in the face of a vicious critical backlash, the talented author opted to leave the business entirely. One hundred years later, the least we can do is give her magnum opus the attention it deserves.

  • Amanda
    2019-02-21 13:44

    I enjoyed reading this, but I wasn't enthusiastic about reading it. I think this will benefit from rereading. The characters and endings aren't the most developed, but the atmosphere of Louisiana is lush and realistic. I can see why this is an acclaimed work, but I wasn't blown away by it.

  • Nicole
    2019-02-27 14:44

    I like some of Chopin's short stories so it was kind of disappointing to get to the Awakening and find that there really isn't that much to it. Beyond anything, I'm confused by it, because when I think of feminist texts, this just doesn't seem to do the trick. This is completely up to interpretation and debate, of course, but Edna Pontellier just doesn't scream "feminist hero" to me. Feminism (at least in my mind) should be embracing one's identity as a woman and seeking equality with men. Here, we get Edna, who, if she didn't want to get married and be tied down by kids, shouldn't have gotten married and had kids. Even still, the Pontelliers have someone to take care of their kids for them, and they have a cook, so it's not even like Edna is really so overcome with domestic roles. There's like one day a week when she has to stay home to help her husband out, and she just quits everything to paint in her attic. I don't get it; if roles were reversed and Leonce dropped everything to pursue his hobbies, there would be a problem, so why don't we have a problem when Edna does it? Furthermore, is being discontent in a marriage an excuse to have an affair? Then the book ends and Edna literally quits. everything. I get that there's a problem in general with women being treated as possessions or as inferior in this books' society, but I don't think Chopin does a very good job tackling the issue. Edna wants Leonce to treat her better but she doesn't actually talk to him like a real person; she's just petty all the time. And that brings me to my second issue with the book, which is that, if this book wasn't a social commentary, it would be utterly unimpressive. I do admire some of the symbolism with birds and some of Chopin's writing style, but none of the characters are likeable and they aren't developed that much. With the exception of Edna going from hopeful to hopeless, nobody changes. Maybe Chopin did that intentionally to show the futility of society, but if she was going to write static characters, the least she could do was make some of them sympathetic. I don't feel anything towards anyone in this book, and that just doesn't make for good story-telling. So it's no wonder that the plot is pretty much at a stand-still for the entire duration of the novella. Not a whole lot happens. To close, I'll paraphrase a close friend of mine, who suggested that maybe the reason so many critics disliked The Awakening had less to do with the social criticism, and more to do with the fact that it's also not a very good book.

  • Yoana
    2019-03-06 09:34

    Review of The Awakening here.The short stories are also great, especially At the 'Cadian Ball, A Gentleman of Bayou Têche and Elizabeth Stock’s One Story, showing a diverse and vital talent for storytelling.The introduction, however, is dismal. First of all, it promptly spoils the novel and almost all of the stories, without any warning whatsoever. Secondly, it's rambling and lacks focus or any discernible point, wandering from trying to excuse or erase Chopin's racist beliefs to pointlessly asking questions about her personal life that lead nowhere. And thirdly and most offensively of all, it contains completely ridiculous accounts of the short stories that feel as though they were written by an internet troll to get a rise out of Chopin lovers by purposefully misunderstanding every single one of them. (view spoiler)[ For example: the author of the introduction states the protagonist is The Story of an Hour died of happiness upon seeing her husband she'd believed to be dead - when literally the entire freaking story is about her happiness at being free from her tyrant at last and the last line is *so obviously* ironic; she believes Desiree's husband knew about his origins and purposefully lied to her in an act of supreme cruelty that drove her to suicide when it couldn't be plainer from the text that he's only then just found his mother's letter that reveals the truth - not to mention that the whole dramatic power of the ending is completely lost if that's the case; she claims the protagonist in At the 'Cadian Ball loves Calixta but marries Clarisse for her social status - his feelings fro Clarisse are directly described as a kind of love he's not known before, they drive his actions and the narrative of the story, and when she accepts him at the end I don't know how his supreme happiness could have been shown more clearly. (hide spoiler)]So, in conclusion, it's 4 stars for the novel and stories and 1 for the Introduction.

  • Paula W
    2019-02-28 10:34

    I really liked this. I think this novella made me a bit uncomfortable, though. I saw a lot of myself in Edna, and that's probably why I kept needing to put this book down and find something else to do for a little while. "A southern woman in a bad marriage who finds herself in a new place one day where her eyes are opened to realize that things shouldn't be the way they are" hit me like an intensely personal ton of bricks, because I've been there. Of course, it was easier for me to end a marriage than it would be for Edna, and divorce wouldn't place a terrible stigma on my child and ruin his life. The choices available to me in this day and age were not available to her, so she reacted differently than I would have. Yet I truly understand when Edna said that she would give her life for her children but would not give her self. Everyone, even women and mothers, are entitled to a self that is an actual person instead of being forced to identify only as someone's wife or someone's daughter or someone's mother. I still don't feel like we have gotten there. Progress is being made, but we still have a long way to go.

  • Yuki
    2019-03-14 10:32

    The altar, 'tis of death! for there are laidThe sacrifice of all youth's sweetest hopes.It is a dreadful thing for woman's lipTo swear the heart away; yet know that heartAnnuls the vow while speaking and shrinks backFrom the dark future that it dares not face.The service read above the open graveIs far less terrible than that which sealsThe vow that binds the victim, not the will:For in the grave is rest.The Marriage Vow, Letitia Elizabeth Landon(view spoiler)[Found Drowned, George Frederic Watts (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Sarah
    2019-03-13 14:40

    This wasn't a book that caught my interest right away- I picked it up only to read a few pages and then put it down again several times. However, as the protagonist came more to life so too did the book. I found Edna both more interesting and more sympathetic as the book progressed. Chopin's style was interesting, too- sometimes lushly descriptive, sometimes spare- and generally quite Modernist in tone.I can see why some people loathe this book: there isn't much in the way of external action, and if one is not interested in Edna's inner journey, there is little that would hold one's attention. But if one has the patience and the interest, the book is well worth it.

  • JoyCagil
    2019-02-24 12:48

    This is a book of stories by Kate Chopin beginning with Awakening, a novella. Inside the book there are 9 stories as:1. The Awakening2. Beyond the Bayou3. Ma'ame Pélagie4. Desiree's Baby5. A Respectable Woman6. The Kiss7. A Pair of Silk Stockings8. The Locket9. A ReflectionThe awakening approaches the realization of the female sexuality. The story takes place during the late 1800s in Grand Isle, a summer resort for the wealthy in New Orleans. Edna Pontellier, who is a painter, is vacationing with her husband, Léonce, and their two sons at the cottages of Madame Lebrun. After her husband leaves, Edna falls in love with Robert Lebrun, the older, single son of Madame Lebrun. When Edna returns to the city, she is a changed woman who rents her own place and has a sexual relationship with another man. Later when she meets Robert again and Robert rejects her since she is a married woman, although he is in love with her, Edna returns to her husband and children. In Beyond the Bayou, La Folle suffers from her deeply ingrained fear of the unknown, but an incident with someone named Cheri who shot himself in the leg by accident, pulls her out of her familiar surroundings and liberates her from her fears.In Ma'ame Pélagie, the main character is able to continue appearing youthful while her dreams of the old life still survive because she associates the most hopeful period of her life with antebellum Louisiana. At the end, she realizes she is old inside herself, although outwardly she appeared young.Desiree's Baby evaluates the class-based and racially prejudiced attitudes of the Antebellum South. Desiree gives birth to a black baby, while her husband Armand believes in acts according to the social and class prejudices of the era. A letter written by Armand's mother, however, discloses Armand's African heritage.In A Respectable Woman, the wealthy Mrs. Baroda faces temptation of an illicit affair by a guest named Governail, as she struggles with her own self-imposed rules. Finally she wins over her emotions and approaches her husband and tells him she has overcome everything.In The Kiss, Nathalie is plotting to marry the good-natured but unattractive and rather foolish Brantain while maintaining an affair with Mr. Harvy. At the end, Harvy ends their relationship and Natalie stays with Brantain as he has much better material assets and social status.In A Pair of Silk Stockings, Mrs. Sommers comes across some money. Even though her original spending plan is more conventional, her emotions get the better of her and she spends the whole thing on herself, showing her craving to return to a past, or rather her youth, when she was independent and didn't have to scrimp and save. The Locket deals with love and war, during the Civil War era, between two lovers Edmond and Octavie. When a soldier's body is found with the locket Octavie had given to Edmond, Octavie goes into mourning. Edmond, however, returns home in one piece, revealing that the locket was stolen by another soldier. Edmond's return restores Octavie's happiness. This story shows the ravages of war on not only the land but on the people who are in love. A Reflection is a very short piece, resembling a prose-poem on the author's brief thoughts on life.In these stories, important themes are: independence and autonomy, especially those of a woman's, gender and identity, the author's opposition to societal norms, class and race, love and desire and the difference between the two concepts, life and death, and Civil War.Kate Chopin was a child of Irish and French Creole descent in the upper class of St. Louis in the decades surrounding the Civil War. She is known best as reflecting the colors of Lousiana as setting and as a farsighted writer exploring race, sexuality, freedom, and psychology of the individual as a person.

  • ☆Stephanie☆
    2019-03-24 13:49

    Ok, so I read The Awakening for class, and I did not read the other short stories in the book, as they were not assigned. However, since the book is that main story, I consider it read. (And after reading the main story, how can I not read her other ones?)It's actually a funny story: for my American Literature II class (ENG 226), at GVSU, we were assigned to read Kate Chopin's story from our Norton Anthology. But as I was perusing the free books at the school, I found this copy. I still ended up reading it out of the Anthology, but they are the same story. And now I get to keep the free book once I return my rented Anthology at the end of the semester, and I will read the other short stories (there are 8 others, and they are all much shorter than the title story).But as usual, I digress. I just wanted to be accurate for the record.Now that's out of the way, I can write a review. Damn, that was a powerful story.It starts out slow: you have to grow accustomed to the way people wrote back in 1899....the book was mainly in passive voice, which I guess nowadays is a big no-no, and I still don't understand why. The main character, Mrs. Edna Pontellier, is married, has children, and is vacationing on an island near New Orleans. She does what is expected of her, though she knows she's not the most attentive mother and wife. She has a posh living situation and wants for nothing. A man who is the son of the owner of the retreat, Robert, makes advances knowing very well that she is married. She brushes him off, but after a night of swimming, after learning to swim and not drowning, she starts to feel differently. She starts to hang out with Robert and live her life on her own terms. As they get close, Robert goes to Mexico. Edna moves back home at the end of the summer, but she fights periods of melancholy and starts painting and doing new things. She distances herself from her husband. She changes. She thinks of Robert all the time. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but she and Robert do get together....but man, the ending is so powerful that the book was actually banned by libraries. Kate Chopin died in 1904, five years after writing this story, and did not write anything after this story because she was so upset about its reception. But there is nothing torrid by today's standards (I guess an unhappy and unfaithful wife), and the book shows the "awakening" of a woman who will live only for herself, and refuses to give herself to anyone. She puts it like this: "I would give up the inessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make it more clear; it's something which I am beginning to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me" (64).It is such a moving story. I'm glad I had to read it for class: she was definitely ahead of her time.If you haven't read it: read it. It is moving.You have to get through some of the mundane parts to get to the heart of the story, and the climax and the end come at you so quickly...but it was worth every second. I'm very glad I read it.I think you will be, too.

  • Haley Wynn
    2019-03-13 11:27

    An explanation regarding the rating: I enjoyed the end of The Awakening, the other 75% of it I found to be indulgent and repetitive, and I liked Desiree's Baby quite a lot as well. As for the remaining short stories, I had issues with remaining present and found the subject matter not all that gripping. With all of that being said however, I am completely aware of the feminist themes contained within The Awakening such as oppression, domestication of women, and patriarchal households (just to name a few). Desiree's Baby on the other hand was much for inventive. If I was rating the stories contained in this collection separately, Desiree's Baby would have achieved five stars. I found the underlying message, which is that men fault women for essentially anything (even if they are not 100% positive), to be enthralling and entertaining and shockingly accurate.

  • Jose
    2019-02-21 12:46

    Most important in any book is the writing style and diction. Kate Chopin gets an A+. I am not a big reader of feminist literature, but Chopin managed to put into words the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that surged through Edna effectively. When reading these sort of psychological books, I notice what a tough time authors sometimes have doing this. I am reminded of Wally Lamb's "meh" attempt at doing this in his novel, We are Water, and marvel at the effortlessness with which it seems Chopin accomplished this. Chopin managed to take me to late 19th century Louisiana. Nothing is superfluous or silly. For Chopin, each description of setting, every character, every piece of dialogue has purpose; there is an awesome depth to her brevity. Overall, wonderfully written. What else can I say? Chopin shows us the journey of a woman into uncharted territory; territory so uncharted that Chopin's contemporaries rejected it as bullshit. I think that more than ever this novel resonates with it's readers. Edna's liberation is not just a symbol of feminism, but definitely a symbol of all of our attempts at breaking apart from society. And it shows us the dangers of taking our individualism to a dangerous extreme—an extreme where we become so isolated from the people around us that we can no longer be functional members of a society. When Edna realizes that there are things that she will never change, no matter how much she tries, rather than be satisfied with a compromise, she prefers to lose the war. There really are three choices, I think: rebelling, but never achieving one's ultimate desire (bliss while in this life), compromising and living with the fact that there are things that we desire but must sacrifice, or oblivion, never knowing if rebelling was worth it or if complacency really would eventually bring satisfaction.

  • Anisha
    2019-02-21 15:42

    Bite sized greatness. Poetic, breezy, melancholic and sensual.

  • Shayla
    2019-02-26 15:26

    loved it. I really don't think I've ever felt so connected to a main character, or if I have it's been a few years.

  • Tanya
    2019-03-06 10:26

    DNF @ 20%This book was boring as hell.

  • S. Adam
    2019-02-27 11:36

    Okay, technically, I haven't finished reading the book because I still need to read the short stories that follow The Awakening. However, I must write what I think about Chopin's prized story before it escapes me. I absolutely disliked Edna Pontellier. I came into this novel with many expectations, primarily that this would be an amazing feminist novel. Nope! It was not, which I am okay with. I am not okay with how unhappy Edna is with her life. Yeah, her husband isn't super romantic, but her life seems to be pleasant. When he sees that she is acting peculiar, he gives her space and trust. She is wealthy, has marvelous social dinners, and two adorable sons. Her life seems pretty darn great. Yeah, I understand that she sought her personal freedom, but compared to the mulatto women she has employed as nannies and maids, she seems pretty darn free to me. I have nicknamed this book "Rich white girl problems". I may have liked her more if she was not so immature. She refuses to attend her sister's wedding for no apparent reason even though it would mean a lot to her sister and father, and she smashes vases and stomps on her wedding ring like a juvenile. Um, girl, aren't you like 28? Her love for Robert does not seem like love but more like an obsession. It promises her adventure and change, which she is justified for wanting, but she could have gone about it more maturely. First, she was never for sure that Robert reciprocated it, so it seemed like she lived mostly on fantasy. Once, Robert came back and she pulled out the truth in him, she was ready to do anything for him--not very independent. Also before Robert returns, she has that affair with Alcee just because she felt like it. Alright,cool, she should be free to do so, but it just shows how capricious she is. I suppose she is groundbreaking by breaking social norms of the time, like moving out of her home and leaving her children, but at the end her suicide just proves she is weak. She is not an example for anyone. She lacks maturity and strength. I don't see her as an example for either women or men, or anyone really. I see that she felt oppressed and suffocated,but she was too extreme in her way of escaping. I will say that I enjoy the description of the Creole life in New Orleans. I love that history that Chopin relates. I hope her short stories don't disappoint.

  • Booknblues
    2019-03-21 12:24

    As The Awakening opens during the languid days of summer we find Edna Pontellier, Kate Chopin's main character, drifting aimlessly as if through a wide expanse of ocean or a great field of grain. Edna is on vacation at Grand Isle with her husband and two young sons. She often feels the weight of her responsibilities and the casual cruelty of her husband and becomes disconsolate, but she has attracted the attention of Robert Lebron who becomes her constant companion. Edna has a tendency towards infatuation and becomes quite smitten with Robert. She makes friends with others vacationing on the island while her husband returns to New Orleans during the week and begins her metamorphosis.She tells her friend Adele that while she would give her life for her children, she would never give up her own self.As Edna returns to New Orleans she begins to spread her wings and to cast of responsibilities like the shell or casing of her chrysalis and flit about on her own selfish quest. Critics of Kate Chopin's time were aghast at the book and called it "sordid" and "unhealthy," but modern day critics see the beginnings of feminist thought in the book and laud it as an early feminist novel. This modern reader wonders if it is more of a parable of sorts.Kate Chopin is a thoughtful novelist who slowly develops her characters and stories and is gifted at developing the scene as the following illustrates:"The walk to the beach was no inconsiderable one, consisting as it did of a long, sandy path, upon which a sporadic and tangled growth that bordered it on either side made frequent and unexpected inroads. There were acres of yellow camomile reaching out on either hand. Further away still, vegetable gardens abounded, with frequent small plantations of orange or lemon trees intervening. the dark green clusters glistened from afar in the sun."In many ways The Awakening is truly a lovely read, but its main strength is its ability to provoke thought and discussion and that is why I would recommend it.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-28 08:53

    Dismally short, The Awakening entwines it's quiet mist of anxiety around our hearts when we first meet Mrs. Edna Pontieller. A beautiful, twenty-eight year old, she is adored by many, but a romantic cast-off of her husband (good thing there were so many cuties around). When she begins with some art, just a little dabble and taste, Edna's senses are becoming steadily and creepily wild. Nature and her seductive caresses are pulling at her heart and body, and this time, she does not refuse.Reminding me of something my own uncivilized Cherokee grandmother (proud to the end of her) would have done if she had stayed married to one of her many husbands. Freeing the soul had a price in Edna's world though. Why, if a woman left her home now and went off with some hunk the husband wouldn't have banished her out of his life forever because of social issues. He would have taken her back because the neighbors had better things to gossip about. Like Desperate Housewives, or Glee.A personally touching writer, Chopin entered my hand, and in my train of thought. Now Beyond the Bayou, The Story of an Hour, and The Awakening will follow me into the crevices I will one day make that silent dissent into (my coffin is going to be Sunflower yellow, woot!). She even found a way into a dedication.

  • Scott
    2019-02-21 12:25

    This was my second time to read Kate Chopin's The Awakening, the last time being in the late 1990's when I was in my twenties. I think I appreciated it even more now after decades of adulthood and years of marriage.I also understood it differently. It seemed less like the standard narrative of a woman rebelling against her social situation and marriage (though there is obviously that), in other words, less like Madame Bovary and A Doll's House, and more like a Virginia Woolf novel in which a unique feminine consciousness is awakened. I was also even more appreciative of Chopin's lovely writing, though this was not new to me. I remember my first encounter with her. I was in high school and was driving home late one night listening to NPR. The station we picked up locally sometimes had readings of short stories. That night I caught part of "Desiree's Baby" (which was also included in a small number of short stories in this volume supplementing the novel). I found the story startling to listen to and lyrically beautiful. It was the first time I'd even heard of Chopin, leaving me wondering why we hadn't learned about her in school (which I hope has been corrected in school curricula of recent decades?).

  • Cai
    2019-02-28 07:33

    The Awakening, set in New Orleans in the late 1800s, follows Edna Pontellier during her realisation that she is "not being true to herself" and is stuck in a marriage that she doesn't want to be and the actions she takes after this realisation.Chopin's saving grace was the short stories that followed the ending of The Awakening. In particular Desiree's Baby. Chopin seems masterful at the short stories and I quite enjoyed reading them. They are the only reason that I am giving 3 stars and not 1.The Awakening was in a nut shell boring. I found most of the beginning absolutely pointless. I felt like Chopin's message of oppressed women was not conveyed well due to the pointless fluff in between main points. I don't think I will be re-reading this one ever again. However I would love to read more of her short stories.*I selected this for a Reading Challenge as a book if short stories*

  • Emi Bevacqua
    2019-03-23 13:49

    It was amazing to watch the unraveling of Edna Pontellier's well-to-do, refined existence in Louisiana. Despite her privileged upbringing, youth, beauty, wealth, status and creativity, this 28-year old wife and mother is stifled by the social norms of the day (this was published in 1899) and begins uncharacteristically to act out. After taking out her initial frustrations on her busy husband, she refuses to attend her sister's wedding, and then things go bananas. I took off a star for the short stories at the end, I liked Desiree's Baby and Ma'ame Pelagie but not so much the rest of them. I'd recommend getting them out of the way first, so you can savor The Awakening on its own.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-03-14 12:50

    I think this is a book now read in college courses, as it well should be. That women were once considered not to own their own lives, especially not their own minds, might be a revelation for those younger than about 30. This small book is beautifully written and not encumbered with the wordiness of the Victorians. I have not studied this time period - perhaps by 1899 literature was coming out from under those paragraph long sentences. This is just a delight, in spite of the ending which I could have wished different.

  • Katy
    2019-03-04 12:35

    A poetic, intricate read that I enjoyed immensely! I can understand why this book was so widely banned in it's presents some shocking ideas (i.e. infidelity, neglect, suicide) and questions the role of women. Edna is an intriguing character, as mystical to the reader as she is to the other characters. The story line is fascinating; the ending beautiful. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Tiamoyo
    2019-03-01 14:51

    So I just finished The Awakening and a collection of short stories by Kate Chopin and really, I'm not impressed. I can see how she would be important as a female who dared to write about the unacceptable but her work really doesn't stand the test of time. Now O'Henry... there's a collection of short stories that as amusing today as it must have been when it was first published.

  • Becki
    2019-03-18 09:42

    This book has an underlying theme to each of its stories. Some would call it empowering for women. I would call it selfish. The women in these stories expect their lives to be perfect without any effort from themselves. I didn't like any of the stories and I will never read anything from this author again.

  • Rachel Yong
    2019-03-20 12:30


  • Beth Hampshire
    2019-02-27 07:42

    Excellent! Will Reread!

  • Padams
    2019-03-13 10:24

    ** [2016-04-17 Sun] The Awakening - Kate Chopin :novel::fiction::1900s::america::south:*** ThoughtsChopin manages to capture the frustration that comes from things beinggood but not the way you want them to be. Mrs. Pontilier's awakeningmay have opened her to joy, but it opened her to pain as well. Is asharp and vivid but sometimes painful experience better than a soft,dull one? Who knows. Other interesting parts include the doctor'swillingness to help but inability to effectively intervene as well asEdna's suicidal swim turning into something inevitable as her strengthdrains as she gets farther and farther from the shore.Also read: assorted Chopin short stories (incl. Desiree'sBaby). Interesting and thought-provoking, if a bit blunt.Chopin's works all carry the feeling of antebellum Louisiana -segments are in french, references to confederacy, and overallforeignness of the the relaxed, socially intense way of life thatwell off southerners used to lead.*** Favorite Quote(s)"There are no words to describe her save the old ones that have servedso often to picture the bygone heroine of romance and the fair lady ofour dreams.""At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the duallife—that outward existence which conforms, the inward life whichquestions.""Who can tell what metals the gods use in forging the subtle bondwhich we call sympathy, which we might as well call love.""'Nothing,' returned Mrs. Pontellier, with a start, adding at once:'How stupid! But it seems to me it is the reply we make instinctivelyto such a question. Let me see,' she went on, throwing back her headand narrowing her fine eyes till they shone like two vivid points oflight. 'Let me see. I was really not conscious of thinking ofanything; but perhaps I can retrace my thoughts.'""She was fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way. She wouldsometimes gather them passionately to her heart; she would sometimesforget them.""She was flushed and felt intoxicated with the sound of her own voiceand the unaccustomed taste of candor.""They had been permitted to sit up till after the ice-cream, whichnaturally marked the limit of human indulgence.""She waited for the material pictures which she thought would gatherand blaze before her imagination. She waited in vain. She saw nopictures of solitude, of hope, of longing, or of despair. But the verypassions themselves were aroused within her soul, swaying it, lashingit, as the waves daily beat upon her splendid body. She trembled, shewas choking, and the tears blinded her.""'I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would givemy life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make itmore clear; it's only something which I am beginning to comprehend,which is revealing itself to me.'""He greatly valued his possessions, chiefly because they were his, andderived genuine pleasure from contemplating a painting, a statuette, arare lace curtain—no matter what—after he had bought it and placed itamong his household gods.""And being devoid of ambition, and striving not toward accomplishment,she drew satisfaction from the work in itself.""She seemed to have apprehended all of the composer's coldness andnone of his poetry. While Edna listened she could not help wonderingif she had lost her taste for music.""She lay wide awake composing a letter which was nothing like the onewhich she wrote next day.""'Not an instant sooner,' she said. But she laughed and looked at him with eyes that at once gave himcourage to wait and made it torture to wait.""He laughed a good deal at other people's witticisms, and had therebymade himself extremely popular.""Perhaps Doctor Mandelet would have understood if she had seen him—butit was too late; the shore was far behind her, and her strength wasgone. She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up foran instant, then sank again."From /The Locket/:"Do you not think that on a day like this, miracles might happen? Whenthe whole earth is vibrant with life, does it not seem to you,Octavie, that heaven might for once relent and give us back our dead?"*** Rating3.9/5

  • Vishy
    2019-03-08 12:48

    I can’t remember how I discovered Kate Chopin’s ‘The Awakening’. I have had the book for years. I must have got it during one of my weekend bookshop visits. I used to buy a lot of Bantam classics those days and I think I got it then. I normally remember the bookshop from which I had bought a book, but I can’t remember the bookshop from which I had got Kate Chopin’s book. By some deductive reasoning, I have narrowed down the suspects to two. And that is where it will stay, I think.I don’t know why Chopin’s book was lying unread on my shelf for so long. It is not too long and the story is interesting. Well, fortunately for me, the stars got aligned this weekend and I picked the book to read. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I put down everything else I was doing – tasks, chores, TV – and read it till I finished it. Here is what I think.‘The Awakening’ is about Edna Pontellier, who is in her late twenties, happily married by conventional standards, has a husband who is successful in his profession and takes care of her and two children who are delightful and undemanding. She has all the material comforts that a woman of her era would need. She also has a wonderful circle of friends, especially Adèle Ratignolle, who is her closest friend and Robert Lebrun who is always there with her during the summer. Once, while spending the summer holiday near the sea, with Robert for company during most days, something happens to Edna. Her heart opens up and she sees something new and it is the end of life as she knows it. She starts falling in love with Robert. She wants to do something new – like painting. She starts yearning for more independence. She wants to move away from her husband and her family, though she loves them, and get her own house and paint in that house. All these new thoughts and emotions explode in her heart at around the same time. As Chopin says while describing this event :But the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in this tumult!Things become complicated for Edna after that. Is Edna able to leave her home and chart an independent life path successfully? What does her family feel about it? Can Edna part from her husband, whom she likes, and her children, whom she loves? What does her best friend Adèle have to say about it? Does Robert return her love? And if things don’t work out what would Edna do? The answers to all these questions form the rest of the story.‘The Awakening’ has been frequently compared to ‘Madame Bovary’. I haven’t read ‘Madame Bovary’ and so I am not able to compare. On its own, I think it is a story of a woman who is trying to discover herself and her relationship to the world around her and in the process how her heart opens up to new vistas and she strives for freedom and an independent expression of her vision which contradicts with the social norms of her era and the complexities which arise from that and how it affects her and how she copes with them. It is a beautiful story, though with a tragic ending, and I loved it. It is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. (The introduction said that the book was banned in America, when it was published, for its ‘indecency’. I couldn’t believe it when I read that. The book didn’t deserve to be banned. It deserved literary awards. I can imagine how heartbroken Kate Chopin must have been when the literary world spurned her masterpiece.)The edition of the book I read had a beautiful introduction by Marilynne Robinson, she of ‘Housekeeping’ and ‘Gilead’ fame. It also had eight short stories. I liked most of the stories. My favourite was ‘Désirée’s Baby’. (If you are curious about it, here is the story – an orphan girl is adopted by a childless couple. When she grows up, a young man from a distinguished family meets her one day and falls in love with her at first sight. They get married and a year later she becomes a mother. Puzzlingly, though our heroine and her husband are white, the baby is not. The husband starts hating his wife after that. What happens after that? What is the truth? – you should read the story to find out. It read like a Heinrich von Kleist story to me.). I also loved ‘A Reflection’ and ‘A Pair of Silk Stockings’.There is a small, interesting story behind ‘Désirée’s Baby’. I first discovered ‘Désirée’s Baby’ through a book that I read years back called ‘River Town’ by Peter Hessler. It is Hessler’s account of his time in China when he spent a couple of years teaching English in a small town in Sichuan province near the bend of the Yangtze river. Hessler said in the book that he frequently read and discussed ‘Désirée’s Baby’ with his students in English class. I am happy to have finally read it. Now I wonder what Hessler discussed with his students on the story. I should go back and read ‘River Town’ again.I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book. Kate Chopin’s prose is beautiful and brilliant. The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude, to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.She missed him the days when some pretext served to take him away from her, just as one misses the sun on a cloudy day without having thought much about the sun when it was shining.The past was nothing to her; offered no lesson which she was willing to heed. The future was a mystery which she never attempted to penetrate. The present alone was significant; was hers, to torture her as it was doing then with the biting conviction that she had lost that which she had held, that she had been denied that which her impassioned newly awakened being demanded.Robert’s going had some way taken the brightness, the color, the meaning out of everything. The conditions of her life were in no way changed, but her whole existence was dulled, like a faded garment which seems to be no longer worth wearing.There were days when she was very happy without knowing why. She was happy to be alive and breathing, when her whole being seemed to be one with the sunlight, the color, the odors, the luxuriant warmth of some perfect Southern day. She liked then to wander alone into strange and unfamiliar places. She discovered many a sunny, sleepy corner, fashioned to dream in. And she found it good to dream and to be alone and unmolested.There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why, - when it did not seem worth while to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation. She could not work on such a day, nor weave fancies to stir her pulses and warm her blood. “There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the impression of an oar upon the water.”Have you read ‘The Awakening’? What do you think about it? Have you read ‘Désirée’s Baby’?